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VOL. 125 | NO. 119 | Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Movie Series Lights up Orpheum Stage

JONATHAN DEVIN | Special to The Daily News

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The Sound of Music
Photo: Courtesy of The Orpheum Theatre

The Broadway season is fading into the summer heat, but The Orpheum Theatre is just getting started on its annual Summer Movie Series offering air conditioning and audience participation in classic and “new classic” films.

“All of our films are classic films, some are certainly from the Golden Age of film, but even some like ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ or ‘Top Gun’ are on their way to being classic films,” said Kanette Rodgers, vice president of marketing and public relations for The Orpheum.

For more than 12 years, the theater has offered its film series, mostly of crowd-pleasing family favorites, though some have more of an edge to them. Rodgers said audiences who return year after year for the films typically determine the next year’s lineup.

“You can go through our website and make suggestions about movies you’d like to see,” said Rodgers. “We try to get feedback from the audience as best we can.”

If You Go

PACKS OF 10 TICKETS are available for $50 at The Orpheum Theatre box office or the ticket counter at Davis-Kidd Booksellers. Single movie tickets may be purchased at The Orpheum Theatre box office two hours prior to movie start time. Cash only.

She still receives suggestions for films that are shown every year like “Gone With The Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” both of which are available through Netflix or Blockbuster. But Rodgers said the experience of these films when played on a big screen is incomparable to a DVD at home.

“When audiences come here, they react to the movies and that’s something you can’t get at home,” said Rodgers. “When we show ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and the witch comes out, people begin to hiss and they know to do that because they’ve been here before. It adds another layer to it when you experience it with other people.”

And that’s not a movie theater crowd of about 200 either. Some of the films will sell around 2,000 seats. Add pre-movie activities and audience participation and, Rodgers said, patrons could be in for a wild ride.

“We try to have something happen before every single movie,” said Rodgers. “For ‘Caddy Shack’ I’m having an actual miniature golf tournament in the theater. People who come in colorful golf attire will be able to play in it. And we give great prizes.”

Pre-movie activities will start about 6:15 p.m. and the films will follow at 7:15. Trivia, dance and costume contests are par for the course as are concerts on the Wurlitzer organ, movie serials and cartoons.

For the first time, 10:30 a.m. matinees will be offered for three films scheduled in July: “Mary Poppins,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Back to the Future.”

“We did this to make field trips available for a lot of the day camps around town,” said Rodgers. “A lot of these kids have never had the opportunity to set foot in the theater.”

For groups, the matinee price of $7 includes popcorn and a drink, or $5 without the popcorn. A tour of the theater will follow. The matinees are open to families who are not a part of a group as well.

Rodgers is looking forward to a sidewalk chalk art exhibition for “Mary Poppins,” which will mimic the one created by Dick Van Dyke in the movie. “The Sound of Music” will be accompanied by the Memphis Youth Symphony.

Visit www.orpheum-memphis.com for a complete schedule.

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